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Starbucks to offer online college courses; employees can now graduate debt free

Starbucks will begin offering free online college courses to its employees this fall
Starbucks will begin offering free online college courses to its employees this fall
Photo by Dan R. Krauss/Getty Images

Young people flock to Starbucks because it’s known as a good place to work. The company pays well in this economy and has many benefits. Now, according to USA Today on June 16, they’ve added yet one more. Starbucks has added free college courses through Arizona State University’s online program for its employees.

Starbucks employs 135,000 people across the U.S. This new program will allow many of them to graduate debt free. The cost of college tuition is one of the main reasons why people don’t finish degree programs. Student loan debt after college is a massive problem for those who do, but find themselves in first jobs that don’t pay that well.

ASU President Michael Crow, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will launch the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. "Starbucks decided human capital is one of the most important things they can invest in," Crow said. "Everybody is concerned about what are the ways to get through college."

CEO Schultz talked about "the fracturing of the American Dream." He said, "There's no doubt, the inequality within the country has created a situation where many Americans are being left behind. The question for all of us is, should we accept that, or should we try and do something about it."

To participate in the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, you have to work for the company a minimum of 20 hours a week. Enrolling as a junior or senior in ASU’s online program will entitle you to full tuition reimbursement. If you enroll as a freshman or sophomore, you can apply for a scholarship. Help is available through ASU advisers.

Arizona State University’s online program has an excellent reputation and was the only school in the Pac-12 to be recognized in U.S. News & World Report for ranking in the top 10. Most courses cost $480 to $543 per credit hour. There are no additional program fees and students enrolled in 12 or more credit hours are considered full time.

The program also includes employees at Teavana, La Boulange, Evolution Fresh and Seattle’s Best Coffee. Enrollment begins Aug 15 and online classes begin Oct. 15.